I'm playing a 5.5 tonight...

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by gopokes, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. gopokes

    gopokes Rookie

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    Tonight I have a doubles match against a 4.5 and a 5.5. My partner and I are 4.5s. It will be interesting to see if we can keep it away from the local stud enough to do any damage...Our obvious strategy is to let him see the ball as little as possible. He has a serve in the 110-120 mph range. I top out around 100. It's his volleys and movement (10 years younger) that are the toughest to deal with. His partner is solid, so it's not like a guarantee that we'll win a ton of points by playing him, but our goal is to get beat by the 4.5 - not the 5.5. If we execute, it ought to at least be competitive...I hope!
     
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  2. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Sounds like you have a tough road ahead - good luck and best advice is, don't worry about the ratings, just play your best. You may surprise yourself. :)
     
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  3. jigar

    jigar Professional

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    Good luck and don't get disappointed after loss. I think you are luck to get to play with better players. I am really struggling to find better players to hit against.
     
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  4. mutantducky

    mutantducky Semi-Pro

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    even though his serve is hard don't stand too far back and also don't have an issue going right at the net guy. if you try to play standard against those serves then his partner will get a lot of easy poaches.
     
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  5. gopokes

    gopokes Rookie

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    And.....we lost 6-2, 6-1. We had good moments, but here are my observations:

    1) He was WAY faster than guys that we typically play - covered the net so well - plus super aggressive on the poaches, and we weren't able to keep him honest. He closed in fast on volleys, so anything that we floated - just a little, was toast. He is 10 years younger than the youngest one of us, but it was more his overall athleticism. Far better athlete than us, and that is what it takes to make it to 5.5 I suppose. You don't get there with just strokes - you need to be a jock. I'm a decent jock, but not DI caliber in anything. Not tall, strong, or quick enough to compete with that caliber athlete. I'm not knocking myself - just being realistic. I do well enough with what I've got, but you can't make chicken soup out of chicken s...!

    2) Better serve - it wasn't the pace, but more the spin, placement, and the angle he could produce. I'm a 5-8" and have a 1 hbh - I was having to step way in to avoid taking the shot at above shoulder height.

    3) KILLER overhead. We all have good overheads - he had a deal-breaker overhead. He actually called his partner off of three or four that were clearly his (plus a few other non-overhead strokes) and rip them for winners (now I know how my wife feels when she plays with me!:eek:ops

    Well, that's about it...humbling, but fun.

    Oh, and I'd better get comfy at 4.5 - I'm going to be here awhile...:)
     
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  6. mutantducky

    mutantducky Semi-Pro

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    the only way to move up is to play those guys...a lot. He might be too good though.
    at least 4.5 is a good level. kind of sucks finding top people to play because a lot of them are a bit snobbish about playing down a level. I'm going to change up next time I play doubles so I'm poaching like crazy.
     
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  7. Off The Wall

    Off The Wall Semi-Pro

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    Sounds like he had the better shots and the better eye. The game was slower for him than for you. He knew what shot to hit and to where, and he knew where to move and when, while your team was wondering which one should be the one hitting the ball. (Not literally, of course.)
     
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  8. gopokes

    gopokes Rookie

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    The pace of the game was definitely different for him - he never seemed pressed. He did make a few errors, but overall, he made it look easy.
     
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  9. markmdfw

    markmdfw Rookie

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    I really really truely appreciate you sharing your experience, I have felt like that I have 4.0 potential till i hit some of the high end 4.0 and feel like what everything you say applies with me as well! LOL LOL Though I want to think that I can get to 4.5 lol

    Best wishes and good luck!
     
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  10. KSJ1979

    KSJ1979 New User

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    Next time you might want to try to go down the line against this guy. Anytime
    you have a super aggressive net player, hitting a few down the line will keep him honest. Even if you miss or if he returns the down the line shot, he knows that you are aware of him and it should keep him at bay. This should open the middle of the court a little more. Good luck!
     
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  11. mutantducky

    mutantducky Semi-Pro

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    I know someone who went from a 3.5 to a 5.0 in under 6 years. don't know how he did it but it can be done. I've been teaching a friend who was a beginner and saying how he could get to a 4.0 but geez maybe even higher is possible.
     
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  12. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    No matter what happens,,,keep getting the ball back and keep making him play. Don't just go for too much and give them bunch of Freebies......
    Make them hit 100 Winners to win the match.....that is the Key.

    and Dive for some balls and show them you came to Play.........
     
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  13. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    You do realize of course that a when a 4.5 plays a 5.5 the 4.5 player isn't going to be able to hit one hundred shots against him, let alone twenty-five, right?
     
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  14. gopokes

    gopokes Rookie

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    All good points and appreciated on this end. We went down the line early to send a message - the problem is that it's tricky to go down the line when the first serve is a good one - which happened a lot. The 4.5 just had to serve decently and then we were pressed to come up with the goods. We also didn't want to blow ourselves out of the match without making them play.
    I played a mixed final today against a couple of 4.5s and we won...it was amazing how much more time I felt like I had. The margins were more comfortable on virtually every shot. It wasn't a cakewalk by any means - but way more fun. I noticed that our points were in general longer today, probably because we didn't have that decisive presence influencing play one way or the other.
     
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  15. Annika

    Annika Semi-Pro

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    I can remember this so vividly as if it was yesterday. I was on a singles ladder and challenged one of the top five players. I knew once she took a look at my great shots, she'd be impressed. And just think - I would move way up the ladder hence walk away a champion. I was told I was about a 4.5 in singles but this wasn't usta so none of us really knew what we were.

    We started to hit a little before we played. She seemed distracted by other thoughts. Probably like, "why am I even here". I couldn't wait for her to see how well I played.

    We took a few serves each. I said, with all my gusto: "I'm ready. Let's start the match." She walked over and picked up two balls to serve and I wondered what took her so long. She still hadn't served. (maybe she's afraid) I said, it's okay, you can serve to me. She pointed to the ball in the corner of the court with her racquet and said, I just did, didn't you see it? :oops: It whipped by me so fast I didn't even know she had served. I don't need to tell you the rest. :oops::oops:
     
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  16. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    If you have the Athleticism and speed,,,,,YES you can
     
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  17. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

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    If you have the athleticism and speed to hit 100 shots with a 5.5, you are a 5.5 and not a 4.5 (actually you are probably a 7.0 because even 5.5s can't make 100 shots at the pace they hit with against each other unless trying to rally, which the OP wasn't trying to do in a match). A whole point apart on the NTRP scale is huge. I'm a strong 5.0 and make 4.5 players in both singles and doubles look much weaker than me, and they certainly cannot hit 10 balls with me in singles, let alone dubs, when the points hardly ever last 10 shots.
     
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  18. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    100 shots was a figure of speech. i meant make them hit winners everytime instead of giving away points by going for too much.
     
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
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  19. KSJ1979

    KSJ1979 New User

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    You can also go down the line during the rally too....you don't have to do it on the serve esp if the person has a good serve. hit a deep crosscourt shot return and if you see a ball that you can change directions on, rip it down the line!
     
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  20. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Why? What's the point? When playing a far better player, playing it safe is NOT how to win. Particularly in doubles.

    Quite frankly, there isn't really a set strategy. The other player is better.
     
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  21. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    or footfault about 50X and see if you can get on their nerves///
     
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  22. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    Hah! You're funny Fedace. You aren't going to MAKE them hit winners, they are simply going to hit them DESPITE one's attempts to prevent it. :D

    Hey, *no idea why this just popped into my head*, where's that string you promised me many moons ago? :shock::confused::)
     
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  23. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    That's right! Do this, do that. Unfortunately, it is easier said than done. If a player is that much better than you there's not much you can do that will get you points. I've played a similar situation before. I'm not a negative person but before the start of that match I had to be realistic so I told my partner we'd be lucky to get 1 or 2 games per set. Sure enough that's all we got - breadsticks. Every time we thought we'd get the edge the guy just turns it up a notch and before we know it they win another game. The only games we won was when we gambled and tried to go for winners. Even then they didn't turn out to be winners. More like he tried to cover for his partner which caused him to make a mistake. We were convinced that if we actually hit to him he'll get it back one way or another.
     
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  24. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    Most 4.5’s don’t really understand how much better a good 5.5 is. I am a 4.5 and have a good friend who is a 5.5 and we play together a lot. In Santa Barbara club tennis is more prevalent than USTA so we can actually play competitive matches that mean something. The only matches we have lost have had another 5.5 on the other side of the net. We have won 4 or 5 matches against two 5.0’s. We played two very good 4.5’s a couple of weeks ago and won 6-1,6-0 in 25 minutes.

    I have a decent server which is critical and my return is my next best shot. If I can make a good serve I almost never have to make a volley. Think about that a little. I will play an entire service game without having to do anything expect serve. :) If I make a good return we almost always win the point. Very quickly the other team is trying to hit every ball to me. They just can’t get it past my partner.

    In general 5.5’s are amazing.
     
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  25. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

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    amen my man
     
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  26. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    which string ?? i may have forgotten.
     
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  27. Fedace

    Fedace Banned

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    so if you are the 4.5 playing with 5.5. and other two 5.0's are picking on you and hitting everything to you then how do you play thaat ??
     
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  28. mtommer

    mtommer Hall of Fame

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    I know the feeling. Unfortunately I also know the feeling of beating myself during many of those service only games! :):(
     
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  29. justinmadison

    justinmadison Semi-Pro

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    It is a pretty simple game. I keep the ball in play with enough aggression so the 5.0’s cannot hit a winner. At some point in the exchange I hope they will hit a ball my partner can put away.

    If we get into a 1 up 1 back rally my partner is hanging over the net moving and juking trying to force an attempt down the line or waiting for a ball that has enough air under it so he can poach, or he may just cross and put it away.

    If I am at the net I play so close it makes it easy to volley. Any lob he can run down and hit an offensive shot or just cross and hit the overhead.

    My guess is the range of skill at 5.5 is greater than at any other level. I actually have never met a 6.0, if any even exist in USTA. The difference between a good 5.0 and a good 5.5 is much greater than between any other half level.

    My partner is 31 and had ATP points in both doubles and singles when he was younger. Most 4.5’s I know cannot return his 2nd server. Really, cannot return it. The ball has so much action on the kick you are in the fence trying to take it late, and it moves so much off the bounce it is very difficult to time. His 1st server is untouchable.

    I watched him play doubles last week with a real partner against a current challenger player and the guy could return his server. :) My guy won, he said the other guy was a better singles player that doubles.
     
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  30. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    This post sums it all up perfectly. It's easy to say hit to the relatively "weaker" player, but good luck actually doing it! 5.5+ can cover the whole court.

    If your partner is 31 and got points, then you're looking more at 6.0 terrority. 5.5 usually means on the way up (good juniors) or on their way "down" (if you can call it that), so the level was a lot higher previously (guys with points that are now older, have different jobs, kids, dogs, etc.). It's great you get to play with someone like that and sounds like you have a good time as well!
     
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  31. DANMAN

    DANMAN Professional

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    Here's where the subjectivity of the ratings comes in. If you have two strong 5.0s against a legit 5.5 and legit 4.5, I suspect the 5.0s win almost every time. If the 5.5 is better than a 5.5 and the 4.5 is closer to 5.0, the 5.0s don't stand much of a chance.
     
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  32. burtonrider726

    burtonrider726 New User

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    I would love to play with a 5.5, except I wouldn't be able to return anything... I am somewhere between a 3.5-4.0 and when I play with a 5.0 (friend playing in college), he just blows me off the court no question.

    Funny thing is around where I live, everyone overrates themselves, but in tournaments they underrate themselves... I'm guessing that happens everywhere.
     
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  33. Gemini

    Gemini Hall of Fame

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    Ok..good observations but I wouldn't sell yourself short. You mention being 5'8" with a one hander. I'm 5'9" with a one hander and still give bigger opponents fits with my returns off of that side. I'm not "tall" by any means but I'm strong enough to hold my own against some of the biggest hitters.

    The fact that he's 10 years younger (and probably trains on a completely different level if he's a collegiate player) is his greatest advantage in my mind. His speed and court coverage allows him to make those explosive plays.
     
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  34. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Why would anyone knowingly *want* to play against watered down competition? If winning is more important than challenge or good competition, something is wrong with you.

    Sadly, I think you might be right.
     
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